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● Reapportionment for federal elections based on the 2010 census will have its greatest impact in the Pacific Northwest within Washington State. Neither Idaho nor Oregon picked up a new congressional seat due to population growth, while Washington did. A new 10th District requires its own territory, which forces the existing nine districts in Washington into new political configurations.

A final plan for the 2012 election boundaries was voted on New Year’s Day by the Washington State Redistricting Commission: this plan now goes to the legislature in Olympia, which is expected to accept it. What does this mean for the tree fruit industry?

Currently almost all tree fruit production is concentrated in the 4th and 5th Districts, now held respectively by Representatives Doc Hastings (R) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R).  Under the new plan, tree fruit production will be primarily in the 4th District, with significant production in an expanded 8th, which will spill over the Cascade Range and is now held by Representative Dave Reichert (R). Orchardists in the area of the Columbia Gorge from Goldendale to Vancouver will find themselves in the 3rd, now held by Representative Jamie Herrera Beutler (R). Few plantings will remain in the redrawn 5th, which will be formed by Spokane and the wheat lands and cattle ranges abutting Idaho.

In terms of some specific locations of importance to our industry, Yakima, the Tri-Cities, Brewster, and Tonasket will be in the 4th, while Wenatchee and Chelan will be in the 8th. White Salmon will be in the 3rd and Walla Walla will be in the 5th.

POLITICAL FRUIT: “If Paul pulls this off, is it evidence of passion for a candidate and his ideas, or disenchantment with both political parties and a sign that voters are so frustrated they’re willing to upset the apple cart?” Jennifer Jacobs, The Des Moines Register, January 3, 2012.